Henry to play it safe for All-Black clash with South Africa
New Zealand manager Graham Henry will resist the temptation to field an experimental line up against South Africa in Johannesburg next weekend.
After four victories from four encounters against Australia and South Africa, the All-Blacks need only a single point from next Saturdayâ€™s encounter to claim the 2010 Tri-Nations title, but a heavy loss to the Springboks last year has convinced Henry to be conservative with his selection this time around.
With the World Cup taking place in New Zealand next year, Henry admitted he was tempted to field some new blood, such as out-half Aaron Cruden, but wonâ€™t be doing it against the reigning World Cup champions next weekend.
â€œWhen you get bitten in the arse like we did last year, you are inclined to be a bit more conservative,â€ Henry told local media.
'We went through a bad patch and got beaten by South Africa three times last year and the selection group just wanted to make sure we were pretty solid this season.
'In hindsight we should have played Aaron in Hamilton (against Wales). It will happen sooner rather than later, though.'
Henry expects South Africa to improve on the performances that have seen them lose by a combined total of 34 points in two meetings with the All-Blacks in the Tri-Nations so far and go back to an approach that has worked for them in the past.
'They will be extremely physical, they will try and bully us and I think they will revert to what has been successful for them in the past,' he said.
'They will play a big field position game, they will put a lot of pressure on us with their kicks to try and get into position where they can kick goals and drive lineouts in the 22.
'This game is what the All Blacks need now. Once this test is over and depending on the result, we may have more freedom for some of the guys who need to play international rugby.'